This is what a battle between elites looks like. Like a fireworks show in a rainstorm, the weather put a damper on the possibilities of an explosive display Monday night. Both teams were forced to muck it up, accepting lower-potential outcomes in order to preserve a chance of victory. In these moments, the most important individuals tend to rise to the occasion. Smith did it for Philadelphia on a night in which A.J. Brown finished with just one catch for 8 yards. Mahomes tried to do it, finding Justin Watson on a fantastic third-down conversion amid intense pressure. But by the time the clock hit triple zeroes, it was clear who was built better to win ugly, and it wasn’t the home team, at least not as of now. Folks might be disappointed by the lack of big plays and the lower final score, but this is football at its core: A sport often decided on the margins.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce remains one of the best at his position, but that hasn’t stopped him from pondering life after football.
The eight-time Pro Bowler told J.R. Moehringer of WSJ. Magazine he thinks about retirement “more than anyone could ever imagine.” He added that the physical toll he has absorbed is “the only thing I’ve never really been open about.”
“The discomfort. The pain. The lingering injuries—the 10 surgeries I’ve had that I still feel every single surgery to this day,” he said.
Kelce was limited to one game as a rookie in 2013. Since then, he has been absent for just jour games, and only one of those was explicitly injury-related. Twice Kansas City rested him in the final week of the regular season, and he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for one week in 2021.
Because of that, it’s easy to assume the 34-year-old has avoided the kind of injuries that can lead a player to hang up the cleats while he still has plenty left in the tank. However, his interview with Moehringer made it clear how he has put a lot of wear and tear on his body.
Philadelphia Eagles fans have to feel good after their team’s 21-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. How the Eagles won is just as impressive as the win in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl.
The Eagles defense shone brightest on this night. After giving up 38 points to Patrick Mahomes and Co. in the Super Bowl, Philadelphia’s defense did not give up a point in the second half on Monday night. The defense’s success set the stage for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense to put together the only two scoring drives in the second half.
Down 17-7 at halftime, Hurts’ second touchdown run of the half gave the Eagles their first lead with 6:30 left. The score was set up by Hurts’ 41-yard bomb to DeVonta Smith one play earlier.
The Chiefs had a chance to win the game, but came up empty after Marquez Valdez-Scantling dropped a sure touchdown pass from Mahomes with just under two minutes left. Philadelphia’s defense then sealed the win by forcing consecutive incompletions from Mahomes, who threw for 177 yards on the night.
Two forced turnovers in the red zone by the Eagles aided them in their comeback. The second one, a Bradley Roby forced fumble of Travis Kelce, prevented the Chiefs from increasing their lead early in the fourth quarter.
But frankly: Valdes-Scantling’s drop, and the offensive woes that doomed the Chiefs on Monday, say far more about Kansas City than they do Philadelphia.
This was the third straight game that Kansas City failed to score after halftime.
Chiefs pass-catchers now lead the league in drops, with 26, per ESPN Stats and Info.
Sure, Mahomes can and will take the blame for perceived areas in which he could improve his precision and communication. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid rebuffed the notion his players weren’t on the same page, instead qualifying that “they’re on the same page but we were maybe off a tick.”
That tick has cost the Chiefs games in which their defense has played well enough to win (think: five sacks of Eagles QB Jalen Hurts in the first half alone Monday). Mahomes can say he’ll “keep firing it,” but passing in the NFL requires two capable parties. Too often lately, Chiefs plays have had just one.
“I have no regret,” Mahomes said of trusting Valdes-Scantling with the game on the line. “They triple-teamed Travis [Kelce] so I went to the guy that won down field, and Marquez won down field. Just didn’t come away with the ball [so we] got to continue to try to get better and better.
“Defense is keeping us in games. If we can find a way to just get a little better as an offense, we’re gonna win a lot of these games.”
The Eagles, with that formula, already are.
Around the NFL
The NFL is suspending Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson four games without pay after his hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs on Sunday night.
The league announced the suspension Monday afternoon while citing “repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players.” The suspension is the second of the season for Jackson for repeated illegal hits to opponents’ heads.
Jackson intends to appeal the suspension, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Jackson lowered his helmet and hit Dobbs in his facemask on the first possession of Denver’s 21-20 win. The hit helped dislodge the ball, which resulted in a forced turnover for the Broncos, who converted the fumble into a field goal.
Officials did not flag Jackson for the illegal hit.
This marked the third benching in the past 13 months for Wilson, who might have played his last game for the Jets. The No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft will be replaced by Tim Boyle, who will start Friday against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.
Trevor Siemian will be signed from the practice squad and will serve as Boyle’s backup on Friday, coach Robert Saleh said. Wilson will be the No. 3 quarterback under the NFL’s new emergency-quarterback rule.
Saleh said he made the quarterback change to “give [Boyle] an opportunity, a different style of quarterback. It’s really just to give him an opportunity to see if we can do something with the offense.”
Tom Brady is concerned about the current state of the NFL. The recently-retired, future Hall of Fame quarterback is not a fan of what he’s seen during the first 11 weeks of the 2023 season, a season that has been somewhat marred so far by injuries, questionable penalties and pregame scuffles between teams, to name a few things.
Brady said there are several reasons why pro football, in his opinion, isn’t as good as it used to be.
“I don’t think the coaching is as good as it was,” he said. “I don’t think the development of the young players is as good as it was. The rules have allowed a lot of bad habits to get into the actual performance of the game. I just think the product, in my opinion, is less than what it’s been.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
While the numbers may not be massive from a production standpoint, wide receivers coach Connor Embree likes the progress he has seen from the Chiefs’ rookie, especially considering the depth that they have at the position.
“[Rashee Rice] is coming along throughout the season,” Embree said after Friday’s practice. “I like where he’s at. He’s working well and working hard every day. Then the snap count, it just depends. We got seven to eight receivers, so it’s kind of whoever has the hot hand, we’ll keep feeding. Then it’s a next man up mentality and stay ready.”
As Embree mentioned, Rice leads the Chiefs receivers in snaps over their past two games and has seen his snap percentage increase weekly since Week 5. Embree says the gradual increase for Rice is just part of the development process for young receivers.
“That’s part of the learning experience,” Embree explained. “Most of these guys in this room, they’ve played every snap their whole life. They’ve always been the best guy out there and never off the field. So, that’s a learning experience where you have to learn, hey, this game I might get 15 reps, the next game I might get 40 like you were talking about with Rashee (Rice). You just got to be locked in and know what you’re doing. Know what role we have for you in the game, and then when the play comes for you to make it, you got to make it.”
While Nagy acknowledges there will be some rookie struggles, he knows Rice can make a consistent impact on offense – something that would be huge for the Chiefs as they enter the season’s final stretch.
A tweet to make you think
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was visibly frustrated leaving the field after the Chiefs' loss to the Eagles tonight.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 21, 2023
: ESPN pic.twitter.com/A8zshs1Rlz